April 19, 2017


Information on Recent Botulism Concerns


On April 13, 2017, the city of Calabasas received two claims alleging that six months ago two children contracted infant botulism as a consequence of soil being disturbed by the nearby construction project at the 101/Lost Hills Interchange. The city of Calabasas contacted the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health who confirmed that on November 1, 2016 there was a single case of infant botulism reported from the Calabasas area.

Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, Deputy Director of Communicable Disease for the LA County Department of Public Health, stated that, "Bacteria and the spores that cause botulism are ubiquitous in the environment and, therefore, it is not possible to link a botulism case to a specific geographic location. Because distribution of the organism is so widespread in the environment the risk of illness is more related to individual susceptibility than to environmental exposure."

He also explained that, "If parents are concerned that their infant might be infected, they should immediately contact their health care provider. Infant botulism is extremely rare and is a very severe disease with almost all infants who become infected requiring hospitalization. Healthcare providers should immediately report suspect cases to the Department of Public Health."

"We understand parents and the community's concerns about this issue and are taking steps to get immediate answers," said Calabasas Mayor Mary Sue Maurer. "The city's number one priority has always been the safety of its residents, especially children."

For media inquiries related to botulism, contact the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The newsroom website is http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/index.htm 

Infant botulism is managed by the California Department of Public Health. For information on infant botulism visit: http://www.infantbotulism.org 

City of Calabasas 
100 Civic Center Way
Calabasas, CA 91302

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